The inferior vena cava: a pictorial review of embryology, anatomy, pathology, and interventions

Abdom Radiol (NY). 2019 Jul;44(7):2511-2527. doi: 10.1007/s00261-019-01988-3.


The inferior vena cava (IVC) is the largest venous conduit below the diaphragm. Although this structure is often overlooked both clinically and radiographically, it can be involved in many different pathologic processes. A thorough understanding of the IVC will assist the radiologist in recognizing anatomic variants, identifying abnormalities, and providing accurate differential diagnoses. In this comprehensive pictorial review of the IVC, we depict embryology behind anatomic variants, present a wide range of pathology with a focus on diagnostic imaging, and describe relevant endovascular interventions.

Keywords: Anatomic variants; Embryology; Inferior vena cava.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anatomic Variation*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Vascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Vascular Diseases / pathology
  • Vascular Diseases / therapy
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / anatomy & histology
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / diagnostic imaging*
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / pathology*